Cavan Scenery

The county lies about midway in the island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish sea, its two extreme points being about 20 miles distant from each. The surface is very irregular, being every where varied with undulations of hill and dale, occasionally rocky, with scarcely a level spot intervening; but the only mountainous elevations are situated in its northern extremity. To the north-west the prospect is bleak, dreary, and much exposed; but in other parts it is not only well sheltered and woody, but the scenery is highly picturesque and attractive; numerous lakes of great extent and beauty adorn the interior; and, generally, the features of the country are strikingly disposed for landscape decoration. Yet these natural advantages are but partially improved, though in no part of Ireland are there demesnes of more magnificence and beauty.

The scenery of the lakes is varied by numerous beautiful islands, and lofty woods overhang the river Erne, which flows into the celebrated lake of that name in the neighbouring county of Fermanagh. Bruce hill forms a striking object in the southern extremity of the county; the Leitrim mountains overlook its western confines; while towards the north-west rises the bleak, barren, and lofty range of the Slieve Russell mountains. But the chief mountains are those which separate this county and province from Connaught, encircling Glangavlin, namely, the Lurganculliagh, the Cuilagh, Slievenakilla, and the Mullahuna, the highest of which is 2185 feet above the level of the sea Some of the lakes cover many hundred acres, several of the smaller are nearly dry in summer, and might be effectually drained; all abound with fish, and their waters are remarkably clear.

The streams issuing from some of them flow through the vales with much rapidity; their final destination is Lough Erne or Lough Ramor. A ridge of hills crosses the county nearly from north to south, dividing it into two unequal portions: on the summit, near Lavy chapel, is a spring, a stream descending from which takes an easterly course towards Lough Ramor and into the Boyne, which empties itself into the Irish sea in Drogheda harbour; another stream flows westward through Lough Erne into the Atlantic, on the coast of Donegal. From the elevation and exposure of the surface, the climate is chilly, though at the same time salubrious; the exhalations from its numerous lakes being dispelled by the force of the gales. The soil in its primitive state is not fertile, being cold, in many places spongy, and inclined to produce rushes and a spiry aquatic grass: it commonly consists of a thick stratum of stiff brown clay over an argillaceous substratum; but when improved by draining and the application of gravel or lime, it affords a grateful return of produce. In the vales is found a deep brown clay, forming excellent land for the dairy.

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